Wednesday 20 September 2017

Stand-off at Terreblanche hearing

Whites and blacks faced off angrily in front of a heavily guarded South African courthouse before the first hearing of a teenager and another farm worker who have allegedly confessed to killing white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche.

Police officers rushed to separate nearly 2,000 people split into white and black groups after a middle-aged white woman sprayed a drink on blacks singing the Zulu choruses of the country's national anthem.

Whites had earlier been singing the parts of the national anthem that are in Afrikaans and that date to the apartheid era.

Police set up coils of razor wire to separate the groups - whites who said they were in the town of Ventersdorp, 100 miles west of the capital Pretoria, to support the family of the murdered farmer Terreblanche - and blacks supporting the family of the 15-year-old suspect and his 28-year-old co-worker.

Minutes before the confrontation, far-right militant whites had provocatively waved old flags signifying white rule. Police scrambled to keep the two groups apart as they advanced on each other.

Afterward, Pieter Steyn, the provincial leader of Terreblanche's Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging movement, better known as the AWB, apologised for the woman who sprayed the blacks.

Bomber Matinyane, regional director of a civil rights group, said the display of racist flags had angered people.

He said whites should stop waving them and blacks should stop singing the inciting song "Kill the farmer".

The court proceedings are not being made public because the younger suspect is a minor. Police have not identified either of the suspects by name.

Press Association

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